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Visualizing America’s Changing Energy Mix (1970 – 2030e)

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Visualizing America's Changing Energy Mix

Visualizing America’s Changing Energy Mix

What powers the U.S., and how that mix is evolving over time.

The Chart of the Week is a weekly Visual Capitalist feature on Fridays.

Today’s chart plots data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) to show America’s changing energy mix, along with their projected mix for 2030.

It shows the total amount of energy used each year, along with energy use per capita. It then breaks down each year’s energy supply by source, which provides another way for us to visualize the decline of coal use, the resurgence in natural gas, and the rise of renewable energy.

Energy use per capita is measured in “gallons of gasoline equivalent per day”, which we thought was easy to relate to. (For our metric friends, a U.S. gallon is just less than four litres.)

Here’s the data:

YearEnergy used (Quadrillion BTUs)U.S. Population (millions)Gallons of gas eq. (per day)
197067.8209.57.1
198576.4240.77.0
200098.8282.97.7
201597.3321.86.6
2030e98.7355.86.1

Here’s energy supply by source from 1970-2030. Projected data from 2030 is from the EIA as well.

YearCoalGasPetroleumNuclearHydroSolarWindOther
197018.1%32.1%43.5%0.4%3.9%0.0%0.0%2.0%
198522.9%23.2%40.5%5.3%3.9%0.0%0.0%4.2%
200022.8%24.1%38.7%8.0%2.8%0.1%0.1%3.4%
201516.0%29.0%36.6%8.6%2.4%0.4%1.8%5.3%
2030e11.7%30.8%36.3%8.1%3.0%1.1%4.7%4.3%

Interestingly, solar and wind only make up about 2% of energy today according to the EIA, and they are projected to combine for 6% by 2030.

Various organizations have criticized these numbers, suggesting that the EIA is not properly accounting for green energy in America – and that it actually supplies a much bigger part of the energy mix.

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Energy

Charted: Global Uranium Reserves, by Country

We visualize the distribution of the world’s uranium reserves by country, with 3 countries accounting for more than half of total reserves.

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A cropped chart visualizing the distribution of the global uranium reserves, by country.

Charted: Global Uranium Reserves, by Country

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

There can be a tendency to believe that uranium deposits are scarce from the critical role it plays in generating nuclear energy, along with all the costs and consequences related to the field.

But uranium is actually fairly plentiful: it’s more abundant than gold and silver, for example, and about as present as tin in the Earth’s crust.

We visualize the distribution of the world’s uranium resources by country, as of 2021. Figures come from the World Nuclear Association, last updated on August 2023.

Ranked: Uranium Reserves By Country (2021)

Australia, Kazakhstan, and Canada have the largest shares of available uranium resources—accounting for more than 50% of total global reserves.

But within these three, Australia is the clear standout, with more than 1.7 million tonnes of uranium discovered (28% of the world’s reserves) currently. Its Olympic Dam mine, located about 600 kilometers north of Adelaide, is the the largest single deposit of uranium in the world—and also, interestingly, the fourth largest copper deposit.

Despite this, Australia is only the fourth biggest uranium producer currently, and ranks fifth for all-time uranium production.

CountryShare of Global
Reserves
Uranium Reserves (Tonnes)
🇦🇺 Australia28%1.7M
🇰🇿 Kazakhstan13%815K
🇨🇦 Canada10%589K
🇷🇺 Russia8%481K
🇳🇦 Namibia8%470K
🇿🇦 South Africa5%321K
🇧🇷 Brazil5%311K
🇳🇪 Niger5%277K
🇨🇳 China4%224K
🇲🇳 Mongolia2%145K
🇺🇿 Uzbekistan2%131K
🇺🇦 Ukraine2%107K
🌍 Rest of World9%524K
Total100%6M

Figures are rounded.

Outside the top three, Russia and Namibia both have roughly the same amount of uranium reserves: about 8% each, which works out to roughly 470,000 tonnes.

South Africa, Brazil, and Niger all have 5% each of the world’s total deposits as well.

China completes the top 10, with a 3% share of uranium reserves, or about 224,000 tonnes.

A caveat to this is that current data is based on known uranium reserves that are capable of being mined economically. The total amount of the world’s uranium is not known exactly—and new deposits can be found all the time. In fact the world’s known uranium reserves increased by about 25% in the last decade alone, thanks to better technology that improves exploration efforts.

Meanwhile, not all uranium deposits are equal. For example, in the aforementioned Olympic Dam, uranium is recovered as a byproduct of copper mining occurring at the same site. In South Africa, it emerges as a byproduct during treatment of ores in the gold mining process. Orebodies with high concentrations of two substances can increase margins, as costs can be shared for two different products.

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